Robert Stout earns first National top 10!! The World Karting Association (WKA) kicked off the 2007 George Kugler Manufactures Cup series this past weekend at the 103rd street complex in Jacksonville, Fl. The historic track is loaded with...
Robert Stout earns first National top 10!!
The World Karting Association (WKA) kicked off the 2007 George Kugler Manufactures Cup series this past weekend at the 103rd street complex in Jacksonville, Fl. The historic track is loaded with high banked turns and a long high speed straightaway. 15 year old Robert Stout entered the event in the TAG Sr. class with his new #56 Birel Chassis prepared by Motorama Kart Parts (MKP) Lucas Oil backed Hot Licks, and Torco Race Fuels race kart. The class was loaded with the best kart racers in the country, "I couldn't believe the big names in the class, everywhere I turned there were national event winners"! Fifty six competitors were fighting for thirty starting positions. Stout said "The last time we came to one of these events we didn't even qualify for the final so that was our first goal." Stout was a full second off the pace at the end of Friday's practice so qualifying would be close.
Saturday was a new day and things just started to click. "My mechanic and National event winner Jamie Ferrell wanted me to be comfortable in the car so we moved the seat a half inch and laid it back some. Team mate John Crow also helped with that decision and what a difference it made. We knocked off 5 tenths of a second in Saturdays first practice session. I also got lucky as Kyle Wiegand one of the best in the class passed me so I was able to follow him around the track and learned to drive a better line".
Stout headed into the qualifying session full of confidence and rightfully so. His Kartkey prepared engine made big steam and it showed. Stout picked up another quarter of a second per lap and that put him in the 14th position out of 56 cars and into the main event. "Just qualifying at this level is exciting but I had a much better lap going than indicated, I really think I could have put it in the top 5 but top 10 for sure. On my quickest lap I had to check up for a guy in front of me that was spinning off the track and it cost me at least a tenth if not more but hey I'm not complaining". The top 15 were separated by about a half a second.
Stout started 14th in the prefinal and immediately moved up to 6th place. "Wow, I got a great start but was just too anxious, I ran over the guy in front of me and we both went out in the grass" Stout came back on the track in 15th place and went right back to work. Teammate and national event winner Conor Daly was in front of Stout and they worked together for about three laps before Stout passed him. "Conor is a great driver and has a lot more experience so it made sense to follow him, I think it's the first time I ever passed him so it was a big step for me, I was gaining confidence by the minute". Stout survived a big wreck with just two laps to go. "Holy smokes, the 07 car passed my friend and former crew chief AJ Codolata down the 80 MPH straightaway and then spun right in front of both of us. AJ flew off the high banked turn into the grass, I have no idea how I kept the car on the track". Stout ended the prefinal in 12th place but more importantly logged the 5th quickest lap time of the race!
The final started and Stout stayed out of trouble. He moved up from 12th to 7th and was chasing down the leaders. "Jamie and my dad gave me a great car today, I think I was in 7th place and my teammate Conor Daly passed me with about 5 laps to go. Conor had a great run as he started in 18th and again he helped me. This time I watched him make a bonsai pass on Brandon Jones one of the best in the country and I'd been trying to pass him for about 4 laps. I thought if Conor could do it then so could I. The next lap I passed Brandon in the same spot, the same way, wow what a rush"!
Stout finished right behind teammate Conor Daly in 7th place and in the process logged the 4th quickest lap of the final. "Our first goal was to qualify and the second was for a top ten finish. We did both and I was faster than three of the six guys in front of me. This was a lot of fun; I had a fast car and beat some of the best in the country today. I'm not sure how much better it gets than this"!
Robert would like to thank Larry McLaughlin and team MKP "Larry has given me a great opportunity and without him this season would not be possible. Kevin, Dean and Tony are also a huge help, they prepare and transport the car along with everything I need to support it. I have to thank Jamie Ferrell, he was great to work with both days and I hope we can continue". Lucas Oil has signed on for the second year and without them this season would not be possible. They are awesome people and I hope I can make them proud. Dennis Gibson and the Hotlicks Top Fuel Drag Boat team also jumped onboard this year, without them we could not afford the top notch crew chiefs we will need all season". The entire MKP team would like to thank Torco Race Fuels for their support. We do a lot of racing and testing and their race fuels are always up to the challenge!